ANNVILLE, Pa. --
The Airmen of the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast put the crowd in the holiday mood Dec. 16, 2018, as they performed their annual holiday concert at the Auditorium of the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Harrisburg. The concert was free and open to the public.
“We always want to do a big holiday concert and really reach our local community members who support the military, Middletown and Fort Indiantown Gap,” said Master Sgt. Brian Stike, trumpet player and first sergeant with the band.
This annual holiday concert required several months of preparation for the 35-piece wind-ensemble concert band, based at Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pennsylvania, and assigned to the 193rd Special Operations Wing.
“We start rehearsing our holiday music in July or August and practice every day of drill for three to four hours minimum per day,” said Stike. “We also have small ensembles and sectionals that rehearse during drill, and we ask our personnel to take the instruments home and work on the music individually.”
However, there’s also more than rehearsing that goes into preparing to take the stage for the holiday concert, explained Stike. He credits the band’s operations and public affairs teams for the amount of hard work they put in to coordinate this event.
This specific event is one that the band’s operations team researches and carefully selects the venue for. They also field hundreds of requests for performances throughout the year, explained Airman 1st Class Kenneth Ayer, a saxophone player and member of the band’s operations and public affairs teams.
“Since we’ve participated in more high-profile performances with the Langley and Travis Air Force Bases, we’ve been getting a lot more performance requests,” Ayer said.
One of Ayer’s roles on the operations team is to log and process all performance requests for the band’s commander and operations team to review and determine which they can support based on scheduling and personnel availability.
Ayer is also part of the band’s public affairs team, which started working with the 2018 holiday concert host late in the summer to start marketing for the performance.
The holiday concert featured a few crowd favorites and several winter-themed classics.
To learn more about the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast visit: https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/ANG-Band-of-the-Northeast/.